The clock ticking down to the close of the special Festival of Sails early bird entry fee at midnight this Saturday, November 30th, has sparked a rush of interest and online registrations.
Just days ago the fleet reached 50 and then doubled. This morning 19 year Royal Geelong Yacht Club member Fergus McPherson was informed that his was the 100th entry.
McPherson reckons over 19 years he’s only missed a handful of Festivals with his 1984 built Beneteau First 38 Mirage, one of the first Beneteaus to arrive in Australia.
“The boat is used fairly regularly; it’s a fair asset sitting in the water so it’s good to take it out of the pen,” he said.
On the saving he’s made by being organised he added, “Sailing not’s a cheap sport, every penny you can save is worth a few more beers at the end of the race”.
McPherson took up the sport in his 50s and bought Mirage in 1992 from its original owner. Two years later he moved to Geelong. Mirage has big screen credentials, featuring in the 2003 movie ‘Visitors’ starring Radha Mitchell, which was voted one of the worst films that year.
For the January Festival of Sails, Mirage will be part of the “soft and comfortable” Cruising Non-Spinnaker division, setting course with an older crew – the youngest is 69 – where the adage, ‘old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance’ rings true.
The 100 milestone is significant for McPherson in that he recently attended a 100th birthday and hopes to make his own centenary.
After this Saturday the regular entry fee will apply until January 10th, 2014, and beyond a late fee will apply.
In 2014 the event will host three Australian Championship events; the Melges 24 Australian Championship, the Australian Teams Racing Championship and the Sydney 38 One Design Australian Championships.
From Tuesday 21st to Monday 27th January an extensive sailing program will cater for all levels, with 17 different classes open to keelboats and multihulls from Australia and overseas.
The event will conclude Monday 27th, the Australia Day public holiday, with the trophy presentations and the final Shoreside Festival program of activities.